"View From the Flagstand: Pocono"
Posted by Gene Haddock on August 3, 2010
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Thankfully we did not have the View this week that Elliott Sadler had. Instead, we had our usual wet time on the Flagstand in Pocono. The rains stayed away long to insure that we would not have a surprise winner, and the final top-10 looked like a Chase preview.
Greg Biffle seems to be returning to form, as he persevered and was strong at the end for his first victory in almost two years. It was also Ford's first win since last October, and their first non-restrictor plate win since race two of 2009. Biffle's team owner, Jack Roush missed the race, as he's still hospitalized after a hard plane landing in Wisconsin.
As previously mentioned, the top-10 were all Chase regulars, Martin Truex in 9th being the only one not already in the Chase top 12. Sam Hornish came home 11th after staying out during the last caution. Hornish led 9 laps as he prayed for the rain that never fell hard enough. Shoutout to Paul Menard (13) and David Ragan (14). Maybe they're getting the hang of this finishing thing?
For at least the third time in just over a year, Jimmie Johnson has barreled right through Kurt Busch. Sunday, going down the backstretch, JJ "bump drafted" Busch out of the race. That is, if you call lifting someone's rear wheels off the asphalt "bump drafting". There seems to be a sense of entitlement among the HMS drivers, particularly JJ and Jeff Gordon. A, "I'm a four-time champ. I can just knock anyone out of my way, but don't even think of doing it to me." Eight titles does earn some entitlements, I suppose.
Elliott Sadler's horrific crash that somehow, with dozens of cameras, and nine in-car cams, ESPN still missed. This wreck was an ultimate test of the COT, the new seats, belts, and HANS device. It seems that they all passed with honors. Sadler was uninjured after coming to a sudden stop, head-on, at 180 MPH. Since Sadler is the biggest driver in Cup racing, I'm wondering if his size helped him escape internal injuries, or if his mass increases that chance? Any doctors, engineers, or crash scene re-creators want to weigh in on that one?
Just one day after Greg Biffle said that someone was going to get killed on Pocono's backstretch, Sadler's car was destroyed by an inexplicably designed, deathtrap of a guard rail along that backstretch. Pocono should not be allowed any more races until the grassy area alongside the track is paved over, or at least, graded down to a level surface. No excuse in 2010 for cars to be going 200 mph... TWO feet from a cow pasture!
All metal guard rails must also be replaced with SAFER barriers, not just at Pocono... but at every track that wants to remain on NASCAR's schedule. Including this week's track, Watkins Glen. The Glen is still using metal railings and rubber tires from the 1960s as crash barriers.
Now is not a great time for track owners to be sinking millions of dollars into safety upgrades, but the drivers should be NASCAR's first concern. Based on past performance, don't expect anything to happen overnight.
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